The Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs has suggested that a thorough look at the current migration policy of the country is necessary to ensure that it is responsive to current trends. The Committee took this resolution following a briefing by the International Organisation of Migration (IOM), University of Witwatersrand’s African Centre for Migration amp Society (ACMS) as well as the Department of Home Affairs.
“We must be mindful that while we re-look at the migration policy with the aim of ensuring that it is responsive to current challenges, we also remain conscious of the fact that the department is in the security cluster and thus has a security role to play. Thus this process requires the balancing of both facets,” said Mr Lemias Mashile, the Chairperson of the Committee.
The ACMS informed the Committee that despite popular belief, the international migration trends have been constant over the past 10 years. According to Prof Ingrid Palmary of the ACMS, South Africa should be looking more at internal migration and urbanisation as this is where challenges are most rife.
“Regional and international migration trends into South Africa suggest that migration is circular in nature, meaning that they come to South Africa not for permanent settlement. But domestic migration accounts for the largest portion of movement within the country, with an average 64.1% of people moving to urban centres,” Prof Palmary emphasised. Prof Palmary highlighted that this phenomenon has largely been ignored in policy and planning.
In light of the recent incidents of violence against foreign nationals, the centre encouraged a more central role for the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The non-ratification of the SADC protocol on Facilitation of Movement by 23 member states was highlighted as an impediment to regional integration.
In moving forward the ACMS, as well as the IOM, discouraged the complete shutdown of borders as it is extremely expensive and ineffective. The other disaantage is that it will encourage illegal migration which present more challenges than answers.
The Committee resolved that a further engagement is needed to enable members to interrogate issues further. Furthermore, this engagement is necessitated by the need to deal decisively with the current challenge of acts of violence against foreign nationals.
Source : Parliament of South Africa